Wednesday, 7 March 2012

To market, to market...

I had a great time today at the Creston Art Club, where art marketing was the subject for a round table discussion.  I promised the group I would summarize our discussion here so their note-taking wouldn't be too onerous.

My perception is that art marketing is meant to increase others' awareness that you've continually upgraded your work, and constantly aspire to a level of excellence. There are a number of areas of art marketing which can work in conjunction with each other, because marketing is a numbers game.

There are a number of books on the subject, but one of the best is 'I'd rather be in the studio' by Alyson B. Stanfield, and particularly appropriate for artists.

To appease your eyes while I get overly verbose, I'll intersperse some artwork from this past Saturday's mixed media class throughout, so keep reading past the photos....

99% alcohol resist technique
Marketing through galleries, art shows, and local markets/fairs

Finding a gallery that is a good fit is key, and approaching a gallery even more so.  First, physically walk the gallery, and if you feel it is a fit approach the owner, preferably by email (phone works, too) to find out how one becomes part of their operation.  Some galleries have a juried process, some by application, and so on.  Please do not approach the staff or owner to do this - their time is valuable and they are busy running a business.

Most art shows have applications online with the structure/parameters clearly indicated.  Some are not what they purport to be, so check their website and contact vendors who have already done the show to understand their experience.

If you're planning on doing markets and fairs, check them out prior to signing up, and when you do sign up, plan on attending for the season.  It is by repetition that you will see results in sales.  Make sure you create a dynamite display, so that you can interact with the public who attend.  For display tactics, check out the Creative Display Design & Marketing workshop coming to the College of the Rockies, Creston on April 21/12.

More alcohol
Networking / Peer Assistance / Building Relationships

Marketing in any form is all about building relationships - with your friends, customers and anyone who expresses any interest at all in your work.

  • Take workshops, and give them to create a wider circle of acquaintances.
  • Take part in group shows, including any round robin challenges that interest you.
  • Consider starting a Mastermind group to assist each other with your goals.
  • Ask other artists you know for assistance when you need it - people love to help.
  • Network as much as possible, in as many ways as possible - get out in the community and talk about your art.

Yet more alcohol - no drinking, really.
Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson is an excellent book by the man who created the form and the term.

Some ways to get recognition could be:
  • Leave your business card in random places, like a gift for the finder from the universe.
  • Do a mail out (postcards, art cards with your images), etc. to your contact list.
  • Donate, donate, donate your work, especially when public acknowledgement will happen.
  • Volunteer - great networking opportunities exist when volunteering, and you can talk about your passion to those co-volunteers.
  • Offer to do free workshops when you can (it raises your profile and helps you to be considered an authority on the subject.
See this one finished on Val's FB page (below)
Internet Marketing

Some sites to consider joining/using could be:

Blog (i.e.,, etc.)
Fine Art America
Other social network sites

In the Creston Art Club, Laura Leeder has extensive knowledge of blogging, Etsy, and Pinterest and is available for consultation for a nominal fee.  Val van der Poel is utilizing Facebook to a great degree, has knowledge of Fine Art America and I'm sure the same holds true for her.

Flexible modelling paste, painted
Additional notes:

Community Futures in Nelson, BC, has consultants who are regularly available here in Creston for one-on-one marketing consultations, as well as hosting a wide range of marketing and guerrilla marketing courses in Nelson.  You can contact Erika Woker at the Chamber to arrange one on one sessions, and view their courses here.

Mixed Media by Jackie Hiltermann
Mixed Media by Chris Ondrik 
Marketing your artwork is a huge subject, and one that can take a lifetime of marketing play.  It does help if you consider it so, and utilize the methods that best suit your own personality.  Have fun with it!

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